U.S. Calls For Free And Fair Elections In Uganda, Following Arrests Of Top Presidential Candidates, Besigye And Mbabazi

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Secretary of State John Kerry

Following the arrest by police today of leading Ugandan presidential candidates Dr. Kizza Besigye and former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, who are both looking to unseat the country's autocrat of 30 years the U.S. issued a statement calling for free and fair elections.

Both candidates who are vying to defeat Gen. Yoweri Museveni were arrested separately in different incidents before they could meet their supporters.

"The U.S. is concerned by reports that the Government of Uganda has detained former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and opposition leader Kizza Besigye," the State Department said, in a statement this afternoon. "The reports of arrests and confrontations are troubling. The United States remains hopeful that Uganda’s voters will have the chance to hear diverse viewpoints in a vigorous democratic debate as elections approach. The United States supports the principle of democratic competition in all countries, through free, fair, and credible elections, held in accordance with current constitutions."

The U.S. has been a major supporter of the Museveni regime through the years. In a recent interview while in the New York, Dr. Besigye said it was a mistake for the U.S. to be "nursing dictatorship" in Uganda.

He also said Ugandans could discuss possible clemency for Gen. Museveni through a truth and reconciliation process.


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